A Lesson in Compassion: Students Share the Art of Sending Kind Thoughts

Boost your well-being by sending kind thoughts to someone you love—and even to someone you don’t get along with—with a little guidance from these students.

Thank you Greater Good Science Center for your partnership in creating this video!

The practices and habits we engage in can support our well-being and happiness as well as the happiness of others. New research links acts of kindness to improved mental health––from reducing symptoms of depression to alleviating anxiety, the positive impact of simple kind acts can be profound.

Try this activity in your classroom: discover who students choose to send kind thoughts to and guide them in reflecting on how they feel after the exercise.

Try This: “Sending Kinds Thoughts” Classroom Lesson

Picture someone who you see almost everyday who makes you happy every time you see them. Can you notice this feeling of happiness in your heart? If you can’t think of a person right away, you can think of a classmate, family member, or even a pet.

Imagine that this person is healthy and strong. Imagine they are very happy, with a smile on their face. Maybe they are doing something they really enjoy. Imagine that they are surrounded by calm and peaceful things, and that their heart is calm and peaceful.

Now, let’s see what it’s like to send some kind thoughts to this person. First, let your heart fill up with kindness—so full that it’s about to burst. Now, take all that kindness, and let’s send the thoughts together—you can repeat after me (silently, or out loud for younger students).

I wish for you to be happy… 
I wish for you to be healthy… 
I wish for you to be peaceful… 
I wish for you to be kind, and to accept yourself just as you are.

You can send these kind thoughts to anyone, anytime. It could be someone standing next to you in line at the store. It could even be someone who you don’t always get along with.

Sending kindness to others is one way to practice, and we can also send kindness to ourselves!

Class Debrief

  • Who did you choose to send kind thoughts to?
  • How did you feel when you sent those kind thoughts?
  • What thoughts did you notice?
  • What did you notice in your body?

This week, see if you can practice sending kind thoughts, and notice what it’s like to do it. Maybe try sending kind thoughts to people you pass in the hallway or to strangers. What does it feel like to do that? 

Considerations: Some students notice that sending kind thoughts makes them feel happy, warm, or empowered. Some students report “not feeling” anything in this practice. It’s important to point out that this, like everything else, is a practice of noticing—we get to notice what it’s like when we say these phrases, but we don’t have to judge ourselves for what we notice or what happens (or doesn’t happen). Sometimes we will feel emotional effects, at other times we won’t. Also, the practice is one of strengthening our intention to be kind by repeating these wishes. The practice can have positive impacts on our well-being by creating a habit over time.

Sending kind thoughts is a lesson in our research-backed Mindful Schools K-12 Curriculum. Dive deeper into this lesson and learn science, strategies, and resources to bring mindfulness to your classroom in our 201: Mindfulness in the Classroom training. Mindful Schools has trained over 70,000 educators to bring mindfulness to school settings!

Educators, Explore Mindfulness in our 101 Course

Next Course:

In 101: Mindfulness Foundations, learn practices that can resource you during the school day and daily life, with trauma-sensitive approaches for navigating emotons, working with thoughts and biases, and cultivating compassion and joy. Educators earn credits.

Bring Mindfulness to Your Classroom

Next Course:

In 201: Mindfulness in the Classroom, learn trauma-sensitive strategies to nurture social and emotional well-being in your classroom. Access the Mindful Schools K-12 Curriculum and Teaching Kit. Educators earn credits.

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